Police Win In Battle Over Arrest, But Only at Extremely High Cost

A case decided in early July demonstrates the high price that is attached to keeping animal rights extremism in line.

Police in 1998 arrested 10-year-old Daniel Taylor at a protest against Hillgrove Farm. Taylor attended the protest with his mother and two aunts and was videotaped throwing a rock at the farmhouse. Taylor was held for almost seven hours and then released to his parents with just a warning.

Taylor then turned around and sued the police for unlawful arrest, assault and false imprisonment. A jury awarded him 1,500 pounds.

Police appealed that decision and on July 6 an Appeals Court ruled that police had held Taylor an hour longer than they should have, but otherwise found the arrest and detention appropriate. It reduced Taylor’s award to only 200 pounds.

But the other side of the coin is that the total police incurred about 100,000 pounds in legal fees — a few more victories like that, and the police might be in real trouble.

Still, Barbara Moore of the Thames Valley Police’s legal services department said that the department felt it had an important principle to defend,

We’re delighted that the Court of Appeals has found that the manner of arrest used by Thames Valley Police in this case was correct and lawful. The principle here is very important not only to Thames Valley, but to the police service as a whole, as it clarifies the correct procedure for arresting a minor.

. . .

If the original court decision had not been overturned by the Court of Appeals, the police service could potentially have faced many costly claims for damages.


Protest: Police ‘win’ a costly legal battle. David Horne, This is Oxfordshire, July 7, 2004.

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